ST. MARYS — With the help of generous donations and a lot of hard work, an area charitable organization was able to provide a laptop to a local girl in need.
Tara Sterling, 13, of St. Marys, received an Acer laptop from Bikes and Cars For a Cause, an area organization that aims to help children, whether individually or through donating money to charities.
Sterling was diagnosed with Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP) approximately 10 years ago. The disorder causes low levels of platelets. Tara’s mother, April Sterling, said ITP has an impact on Tara’s everyday life.
“She says she never really feels good,” Sterling said. “She gets migraines, but almost every day she gets headaches.”
Tara has missed more than 90 days of school on several occasions, making it a challenge to keep up with her classmates and stay on top of homework — although Tara has managed to earn A’s.
“She goes to Dayton Children’s (Hospital) probably every six weeks right now,” Sterling said. “She’s there for about three days, two days of treatments, and stays at the Ronald McDonald House and comes home. She gets real bad side effects for two weeks afterwards.”
With wireless Internet at the hospital and at the Ronald McDonald House, Sterling noted the laptop will help Tara with her schooling. Tara had wanted a laptop for a while; however, it was not something the family could afford.
“She wanted one for years — a laptop — and I said we cannot afford it,” Sterling said. “Because of them (Bikes and Cars For a Cause), she’s got her wish.”
Sterling said it was meant to be that the family met Faye Milonich and Bob Erwin of Cars and Bikes For a Cause at Indian Lake.
“We never go to the right one (shelter house), we always go to the left, and Tara said ‘let’s go over there today,’” Sterling said. “It was just meant to be through God that we met them and they’ve done all this for Tara. This is great. It’s going to make her so happy and help her because she misses so much school.”
The family talked with Milonich and Erwin, who decided they wanted to help Tara. They began the next day to raise money for Tara.
“We worked for a couple of weeks on some fundraising and weren’t having a whole lot of luck until last Saturday,” Milonich said. “We did a car and bike show for Stephanie Coatworth, who had lost her husband five months ago to a rare form of melanoma. We went around to the different clubs that had signed up to display their vehicles and I collected a little bit of money.”
Coatworth had a surprise for Milonich.
“Mrs. Coatworth called me into the restaurant and said she wanted to talk to me about something,” Milonich said. “She handed us the rest of the money so we could get the laptop for Tara.”
Coatworth told Milonich that she had recently received money from a friend and said God had spoke to her, telling her that she was going to give the money to somebody, but she did not know whom.
“So for a whole week it was on her mind and she prayed for it,” Milonich said. “They had a picture of Tara displayed and when Stephanie (Coatworth) saw the picture, she knew that was who the money was for.”
Although Cars For a Cause has been working in Shelby County for a few years, Erwin added Bikes For a Cause this year. The organization has raised approximately $2,000 for children and it already booking events for next year. The organization holds bike and car shows to help raise money for children’s charities, such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Travis Flores Children’s Foundation and the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. The organization also helps individual children, like Tara. In most cases, Milonich said Cars and Bikes For a Cause holds a show to benefit the cause.
“What we like to do is hold a car or bike show, but with Tara we wanted to do something as soon as possible so she could have it for school, so we didn’t have time to throw anything like that together,” she said. “It doesn’t matter, if there’s a child in need, we’re here and we’ll do what we can.”
Erwin attributed some of the success the organization has had to the help it has received from their sponsors, the Mustang Lounge in Lakeview.
“If it wasn’t for their sponsorship, we could only do a little bit of this, but with their help, it makes it easier for us to go out and get to shows,” he said. “They’re just fantastic people. Every chance I get I have to thank them.”
The organization is open to anyone interested in joining the club, donating to a children’s charity or volunteering their time.
“If you enjoy cars and motorcycles, you don’t even have to have a vehicle to join the club, you can still participate,” Milonich said. “You can still help us get the word out.”
Anyone interested in getting involved with Cars and Bikes For a Cause can contact Milonich or Erwin at 937-597-1037 or go online to CarsForACause.yolasite.com.